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15 year old setting up

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by MissOwen, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. MissOwen

    MissOwen New Member

    Hi All!

    Im an aspiring freelance graphic designer and photographer looking to set up my own business. I've done a lot of research but struggling to find something that tells me how to make everything legal if I'm under 18. What licences? Bank accounts? Contracts? What am I allowed to post on my own website? And does this apply to under 18s as well as adults? Basically need all the advice possible for a 15 year old setting up her own graphic design business!

    Thanks in advance :)

    ~ Miss Owen
  2. 1christopher

    1christopher New Member

    Firstly, are you UK based?
  3. MissOwen

    MissOwen New Member

    Yes I am
  4. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Firstly, welcome to the forum.

    I can't claim to know anything about a child setting up a business (I'm not being rude but in the eyes of the law, 15 years old means you're still a child) but I have set up my own business so know a bit about that side of things and these would be my musings regarding your position....

    Can you open a junior/child's account with all the features required for business? ie; standing orders, direct debit, chip and pin card, online banking?

    Tax & Self Assessment
    At 15 can you register for taxes? Maybe speak to HMRC and find out how you register for self assessment.

    Businesses aren't cheap to setup and run. A bank won't lend to a 15 year old so how else can you set yourself up? Can you get funding for computers, software etc... How about if something goes wrong with a job? How will you finance putting that right?

    Can someone under 18 get Professional Indemnity insurance?

    Business Hours
    Clients will want to talk to you and arrange meetings during business hours. How will you get round that when you cant take calls or meetings during the school day? With this in mind, how will you grow the business and target potential clients?

    Experience & Knowledge
    Many successful designers have no formal training and just as many successful freelancers have very little commercial experience. However, having no formal training AND no experience is going to put you at a massive disadvantage over the competition.

    New businesses require a huge time investment over a number of years. Do you really have time to invest in setting up a business? GCSE's are full time courses which you have no choice but to study for and running a business (no matter how small) will take time away from your studies.

    Please don't think I'm being negative but at 15 years of age you've probably got more than enough going on without adding a small business in the mix. Why not continue to hone your skills over the next few years, try getting some work as an intern with an agency and maybe pick up the odd client of your own along the way. Then once you've got education out of the way, you'll be able to give the business and your clients your full attention.
  5. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I believe you can legally run a business at 16, though some banks won't allow business accounts until you're 18, though you don't need an actual business account to set up a business, just a separate current account will do. To operate a business before then I think you'll need a sort of 'guarantor' who the business is registered to.

    I admire your entrepreneurial spirit, but running a design business requires a great deal of experience. It's a professional, business to business service, and clients will come to you to solve their business problems. At 15, you simply don't have the first-hand knowledge and expertise that's required to solve these problems. That means knowing about more than just design. On top of that, you may find your age holds you back with finding work and clients.

    Personally I'd recommend focussing on your education for now and maybe do the odd job for friends/family/local charities when they come up. It's worth looking into college courses that will help you grow too and gain experience too. Despite appearances, it's not just about creating nice looking design work, though I wish it was!
  6. MissOwen

    MissOwen New Member

    Thank you for all the advice and yes I think it is too ambitious to start a full business now. Do you think it would be an idea to do smaller commission jobs?
  7. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah why not. :)
  8. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Absolutely. Experience is key, so get as much as you can as soon as possible. Know your limits, but don't turn away from a challenge. That's how you learn new things.

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